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The following Prospectus, written in 1985, was based on my experience of facilitating the second course of the Institute for the Development of Human Potential (IDHP) and of monitoring a total of 17 IDHP courses. It was designed to give practical expression to a model of radical education integrating confluence, hierarchy and parity.

TO: IDHP Committee Members    FROM: John Heron


Since I sent you the outline of a chapter for Dave Boud’s book on adult learning, I ran an holistic education workshop for two days at the University of Surrey.

The second day of the workshop was an autonomy lab, and I took time in it to work out what sort of an IDHP course I would want to facilitate, taking into account the sort of issues raised in the chapter outline, and in our recent IDHP committee week-end at Bath.

I have reflected further on all this and have written the attached Prospectus.

I have no definite plans at the moment to launch an IDHP course using this Prospectus. But I would like to discuss the Prospectus with the committee at our next meeting, or, if time does not allow, at the meeting after that, in time set aside for ideology.

There is no copyright on this Prospectus and I am very happy for anyone to take from it anything they want to make their own.

20 April 1985


This is a prospectus for a two-year part-time course entitled “Facilitator Styles” which leads to an award of the Diploma in Holistic Psychology of the Institute for the Development of Human Potential. Holistic psychology embraces both humanistic and transpersonal psychology. The course offers a model of confluent education, and one which seeks to balance the political principles of hierarchy and parity. This is explained more fully below.

The Contract

1. The prospectus constitutes a contract to which all those who enrol on the course are asked to give their written assent.

Confluent Education

2. The course offers a model of confluent education. By “confluence” we mean interweaving and running concurrently several different strands of learning and change, so that we have a holistic education of the person in their social, political and cultural context. This course identifies six strands of learning, each of which is elaborated in more detail as the prospectus unfolds:

3. The course focuses mainly on the personal development strand in the first two terms in order to establish a sure foundation in the soul for everything else. However, there are five important exceptions to this, and these exceptions launch the underlying model of confluent education, of running several strands of learning concurrently:

Personal Development

4. The term “Psychology” in the Diploma in Holistic Psychology which is awarded to-those who successfully complete the course, is construed first in terms of depth and second in terms of breadth. Personal development, construed as deepening of soul growth, is primary, and breadth of grasp of the basic modalities of humanistic and transpersonal psychology is secondary to it. To this end:

Participants contract to do 100 hours of personal work, deepening soul growth, in the first year of the course, at least 50 hours during course time, and the remainder between weekly meetings and in the vacations; and to keep a diary of this work. This work has five dimensions:

Participants contract to balance these five dimensions, but what constitutes a balance is for each person to determine. They also contract to cover these five dimensions in the diary of personal work. The 50 hours personal work done during course sessions will be done partly during the weekly meetings and partly during the weekend workshops.

The following modalities are built into the first two terms of the course, in order to provide a secondary and supporting breadth of method to the personal work contract:

Theoretical Understanding

5. The theory strand of the course seeks to provide non-alienating theory brought into relation with experience and action:

Writing Skills

6. There is an important commitment to written work on this course. However, we seek to provide conditions such that the writing can become non-alienating and consonant with the rest of the course.

Facilitator Skills

7. The facilitator skills training strand of the course starts with the training of counsellors in the co-counselling training with which the course commences. This strand is developed more fully from the start of the third term of the first year onwards. To this end:

Social Change Competence

8. The course as a whole is itself a piece of social change activity within the educational culture of our society. Specifically, the course focuses on social change in the following ways:

Political Skills Internal to the Course

9. Political skills internal to the course refer to skills in peer planning and in balancing self-direction and cooperation in meeting a mixture of individual and corporate needs and interests. This is one aspect of the course itself seen as a social change activity, but merits special attention because it is so central to the destiny of the course.

Self and Peer Assessment

10. The course is committed to the use of self and peer assessment of learning and change on each of the six strands of the course – personal/ interpersonal/transpersonal development, theory, written work, facilitator skills, social change, political skills internal to the course, .

Hierarchy and Parity

11. Participants contract to help create a learning community which seeks to find an aware balance and fruitful interaction between the principle of hierarchy and the principle of parity. These principles refer to who decides what is done on the course and how it is done.

The principle of hierarchy is represented by several factors, some but not all of which have been mentioned in the contract so far. They bear witness to the values and ideology of the IDHP. They are:

The principle of parity is represented by the self-determination and cooperation of participants on the course, within the hierarchical limits set by this contract. The parity factors are:

Summary of Pre-planned Structure

Year One

To include 100 hours personal growth work: 50 hours in course time, 50 hours outside course time, with diary, on five dimensions. The 50 hours in course time is covered by the time allocated to co-counselling and transpersonal/ASC work during weekly meetings, in the schedule below.

Term One

10 weekly meetings of 6 hours each: first 5 meetings devoted to co-counselling training, with 1 hour per day on transpersonal/ASC; next 5 meetings include 2 hours co-counselling per day, and 1 hour transpersonal/ASC per day. Unplanned: 3 hours per day of the last 5 meetings.

3 week-end workshops: Bio-energetics; Re-birthing; Encounter/Group Dynamics.

Term Two

10 weekly meetings of 6 hours each: 2 hours co-counselling per day, 1 hour transpersonal/ASC per day. Unplanned: 3 hours per day for all 10 meetings.

3 week-end workshops: Gestalt; Psychosynthesis; Expressive Style.

Term Three

10 weekly meetings of 6 hours each: 2 hours co-counselling per day; 10 hours facilitator skills training over the term; 5 hours peer planning of second year over the term. Unplanned: average of 2.5 hours per day for all 10 meetings.

3 week-end workshops: Six Category Intervention Analysis; Dimensions of Facilitator Style; Social Change.

Unplanned: 2 5-day workshops during the year.

NB: To be fitted in to the unplanned parts of the course are: 10 hours of social change theory and method; self and peer assessment in the third term.

Year Two

One quarter of the total course time to be devoted to facilitator skills training; one social change project to be planned and implemented; self and peer assessment, self and peer accreditation, towards the end of the year; two pieces of existential writing, two pieces of theoretical writing, one piece of writing on the social change project. With the exception of these guidelines, the whole of year two is unplanned.